While we’re on the topic of Japan, Bench worlds was actually the reason I went over there in the first place! I haven’t spoken much about my powerlifting “career” here, so what a good way to start then the highlight of that “career” so far!

I set my sights on bench worlds when I hit a 100kg bench – which in the scheme of things, is low for my weight class. However – just like going to uni and graduating – I set that goal and worked hard.

To get to Worlds I had to qualify at Bench Nationals. The qualifier was quite low, probably around 90kg, however I hit 120kg on the day! I was super stoked!

The prep to Japan was stressful. So many people were excited for me and I kept thinking over and over in my head “what if I fail? What if I can’t even get a lift on the board?”. I had to push those thoughts aside and just keep my mind of the goal, I wanted to go worlds, and I wanted to smash it…

Until the nominations came out. I think the year before Japan, whoever attended worlds was not who would attend in Japan, and as such I seriously thought I had a shot at placing top 3! The nominations took me down a peg (or…6, spoiler!~) but I was amendment I was still going, and going to at least get a competition Personal Best (PB).

We received our comp gear before we left for Japan, this included a t-shirt with a fern – a huge honor to wear – representing NZ! I honestly never thought I’d get to this place! It was all starting to sink in when I received this kit that i was going to represent Aotearoa in an international sport.

I complete as a 84+(f, obviously!) in the open category, raw. This means that I competed on the last day of the Raw competition. So I did a lot of watching of other classes. It made me really nervious, considering we were at the top end of the sport, a lot of people were missing their opening lift, and quite a few missed all three lifts. This made me incredibly nervous and I had to limit how much I watched. However there was some amazing lifts, and the general atmosphare could be pretty amazing! I got to watch some of the 4 best bench pressers in the world make some incredible lifts!

I got to see Yusuke Suzuki hit 216.5kg Bench @ 80kgBW

Daiki Kodama hit 225kg @ 77.5kgBW (No video on IG :()

Jen Thompson hitting an amazing 140kg @62kgBW. Freaking amazing!

Thomas Davis’ three hundred kilo bench press!

Butttt it was finally my turn. And here is where I get stuck writing and explaining how I felt.

I was nervous and excited. I ate what I could for breakfast – I’m always so nervous I don’t like eating, but I know I need food, especially for bench! I weighed in and then… kinda buggered off to my room for an hour to chill out and not overthink.

When we got to the warm up area, i was surprised that noone really wanted to talk or say hello, I just found that really odd, but I guess we’re competing against eachother, after all.

My warm ups went so smoothly. I really felt in peak, tip top shape! My music playlist wasn’t killn’ it tho.. I ended up adding the New Zealand Haka ( can’t find the exact version but this is a goodie!) to my playlist, as well as a few other kiwi classics or “amp” songs. David Dallas – Runnin’ is a classic go to. I am representing New Zealand, guys! I need some of dem Aotearoa beats!

My turn was suddenly up – I was full of nerves. I had a good coach though, he knew exactly what to say to keep me focused.

If you know much about powerlifting, you’ll know some people (many, probably!) can be quite agressive and have an angry look about them when they’re ready to hit the platform – for my bench, I need to be calm and happy – the this!

And that.. is really how the rest of it went! I was still a ball of nerves after the first lift, but essentially I hit the platform with a smile on my face, knowing I could knock it easily!

And I did get my goal of getting a PB Competition bench! Which means two reds on each side of the the bar! (A red is a 25kg plate haha)

In my weight class I came 6th out of 7 but I got to compete against people who have competed for years, I’ve been competing (at that point) for only 1.5 years.

And I guess.. that was my worlds experience so far.. And it was enjoyable! I met some really cool people (pozed for an awkward photo with Jen Thompson, but I have some amazing photos of me and Geno haha

I didn’t really learn too much from this experience – it went perfectly. We had access to food, I had a really good coach with me, I had my partner and a few other people from NZ. The people in Japan were super friendly, too. My strength didn’t take a hit from travel, the beds were comfy, honestly it was just a great time and I had hoped to do it again this year.. but, well.. obviously not.


3 Comments

On The Fly Blog · May 19, 2020 at 9:26 am

This is awesome! Representing your country must feel amazing.

    Jana Hayes · May 19, 2020 at 6:47 am

    It was incredibly amazing! I had two oppertunities to do it this year, too. Flights booked etc but of course we all know what happened. It’s such an honor to wear the NZ fern 🙂

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